POLL FINDS HOME OWNERSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MARRIAGE OR CHILDREN
PEOPLE looking to buy a new home think that owning their own property is a more important goal in life than getting married or having children.
When asked to rate the level of importance of home ownership, the vast majority (71 per cent) rated it as eight or above out of 10. By contrast, 46 per cent attributed the same level of importance to marriage and just 44 per cent to having children.
The only aspirations that came close to home ownership were job satisfaction, with 68 per cent affording it the same degree of importance, and the area in which you live (69 per cent).
Taking foreign holidays (24 per cent) and having an active social life (27 per cent) were at the bottom of the scale of priorities in life.
The findings come from the Barratt Home Buyers Panel of 2,900 people which has been established to track the changing attitudes of homebuyers and homeowners in Britain.
Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments PLC, said: “These results demonstrate that the economic problems of the last three years have not diminished the huge appetite for home ownership in Britain. But this near-universal aspiration is in stark contrast to the chronic under-supply of housing and the increasing inability of the average person to buy a home of their own unassisted.”
He added: “The average age of First Time Buyers is now approaching 40 and mortgage finance remains in short supply. There is a growing urgency to address this issue, with more than half (56 per cent) of buyers aged between 18 and 24 expecting house prices to go up in the next 12 months.”
As well as identifying the continuing importance of home ownership, the Barratt Home Buyers Panel also explored the perceived barriers that potential home owners face.
The biggest difficulties when buying a new home were raising a deposit (which was cited by 42 per cent of respondents) and finding a suitable property (41 per cent).
With mortgage availability constrained since the credit crunch, 31 per cent cited finding a mortgage as a major difficulty.
Mark Clare called on the new Government to make housing a priority in the new Parliament in order to tackle the aspirations gap that will inevitably grow if the shortage of homes is not addressed. He said that Government could do three things to increase the supply and affordability of housing.
First, as a matter of urgency bring forward the state-owned land which is suitable for development.
Second, cut the red-tape and regulatory burden which currently makes it commercially unviable to develop many sites for housing.
Third, continue to encourage the banks to return to more normal lending patterns, particularly in respect of creditworthy First Time Buyers.
Other findings of the Barratt Home Buyers Panel, for which ComRes conducted the field work, include:
• Women are even more inclined than men to value owning their own home, with 74 per cent saying it was of high importance compared with 68 per cent of their male counterparts.
• Young buyers are more likely to prioritise home ownership than their elders. 81 per cent of homebuyers aged between 18 and 24 rated owning their own home as highly important. This figure dropped to 73 per cent for the 25-34 age bracket and 74 per cent for those aged between 55 and 64.
• Homebuyers in Scotland are more optimistic than in any other part of Britain about house prices in the next 12 months. 49 per cent of those looking to buy a home in Scotland expect prices to rise in the next year compared with a national average of 43 per cent. Just 6 per cent of prospective Scottish buyers expect prices to fall compared with nine per cent nationally.
• Homebuyers in the South West are more confident than in any other region of the country that buying a house will be the best investment over a ten-year period. 54 per cent say that residential property will give the best financial return, compared with just nine per cent who said shares, one per cent who said cash and one per cent who said pensions. 31 per cent said they didn’t know.
• People looking to buy a home in the West Midlands find obtaining a mortgage more difficult than buyers in any other region of the country. When asked to rate the difficulty of raising mortgage finance to buy a property, 40 per cent of homebuyers in the region rated it as eight or above out of 10. 31 per cent of respondents nationally said that getting a mortgage was such a major issue.